The Craftsman’s Creed

Does the following creed address what you do, as a maker of lovely and useful things? More on the subject soon . . . .


I hold with none who think not work a boon,

Vouchsafed to man that he may aid his Kind

With offerings from his chisel, wheel, or loom,

Fashioned with loving heart and loving mind.


All of the fine traditions and the skill,

Come from my elders through the long line down,

Are mine to use to raise our crafts’ renown

And mine to teach again with reverent will:


Thus do I live to serve, though least for pay,

With fingers which are masters of the tool

And eyes which light to see the pattern’s play–

As it unfolds obedient to each rule of our dear Art.


So all my craft is praise to God–at once part homage and part song.

My work’s my prayer, I sing the whole day long

As Faith and Beauty shape the forms I raise.

–James Parton Haney


29 thoughts on “The Craftsman’s Creed

  1. And thus it is written in words I could not have imagined or put together, so perfectly expressing the “reason” for the passion that “drives”/propels me forward in my quilting journey/adventure. Thank you for posting………………………..

  2. I see that James Parton Haney was Director of Art and Manual Training, New York City. The words manual training jumped out at me. In my younger days we had one class a week of manual training. Somewhere along the line the term was ditched, presumably because manual training was considered unworthy. Our classes became home economics or home science. Now the classes are ….. technology classes. What a shame we have devalued the work of the hand.

  3. All work has nobility and this poem expresses that so perfectly. The concept of passing down one’s trade, hand to hand, has faded away and that makes me really sad. The trades are scrambling now to find young people willing to apprentice and carry on the good work.

    • We’ve done such a job of selling the concept of higher education, specifically in the form of college, that we’ve devalued the trades and crafts, I think. I’m not sure why both can’t be seen as valuable, equal though different . . .

      • AS they are in other countries. I remember a 60 Minutes which was focussing on the differences between our educational system and Finland’s. Among other chasms, is their attitude towards the trades. A plumber is as valued a member of society as a professor without the enormous disparity in wages. It’s complicated, I know, but I’m a firm believer that not everybody should be pushed into college when it’s not what they want or aspire to.

  4. I resound with the line ‘My work’s my prayer …..’ even though I do not paint useful or practical things, my work is my prayer! I am saving this creed it is most beautiful! I look forward to seeing what more you have to say on it 🙂

    • I’m not religious so the prayer element doesn’t speak to me much but I love the idea of my work being my song, and “I sing the whole day through.” It makes me think of so many forms of folksong what were used to accompany work and lighten the load.

  5. Just beautiful!
    “All of the fine traditions and the skill,
    Come from my elders through the long line down,
    Are mine to use to raise our crafts’ renown
    And mine to teach again with reverent will”

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